Let’s quit wasting money on a “spaceforce” and save the earth by planting lots of trees

When it comes to climate change research, most studies bear bad news regarding the looming, very real threat of a warming planet and the resulting devastation that it will bring upon the Earth. But a new study, out Thursday in the journal Science, offers a sliver of hope for the world: A group of researchers based in Switzerland, Italy, and France found that expanding forests, which sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, could seriously make up for humans’ toxic carbon emissions.

In 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s foremost authority on climate, estimated that we’d need to plant 1 billion hectares of forest by 2050 to keep the globe from warming a full 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. (One hectare is about twice the size of a football field.) Not only is that “undoubtedly achievable,” according to the study’s authors, but global tree restoration is “our most effective climate change solution to date.”

In fact, there’s space on the planet for an extra 900 million hectares of canopy cover, the researchers found, which translates to storage for a whopping 205 gigatons of carbon. To put that in perspective, humans emit about 10 gigatons of carbon from burning fossil fuels every year, according to Richard Houghton, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, who was not involved with the study. And overall, there are now about 850 gigatons of carbon in the atmosphere; a tree-planting effort on that scale could, in theory, cut carbon by about 25 percent, according to the authors.

In addition to that, Houghton says, trees are relatively cheap carbon consumers. As he put it, “There are technologies people are working on to take carbon dioxide out of the air. And trees do it — for nothing.”

To make this bold prediction, the researchers identified what tree cover looks like in nearly 80,000 half-hectare plots in existing forests. They then used that data to map how much canopy cover would be possible in other regions — excluding urban or agricultural land — depending on the area’s topography, climate, precipitation levels, and other environmental variables. The result revealed where trees might grow outside of existing forests.

“We know a single tree can capture a lot of carbon. What we don’t know is how many trees the planet can support,” says Jean-François Bastin, an ecologist and postdoc at ETH-Zürich, a university in Zürich, Switzerland, and the study’s lead author, adding, “This gives us an idea.”

They found that all that tree-planting potential isn’t spaced evenly across the globe. Six countries, in fact, hold more than half of the world’s area for potential tree restoration (in this order): Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and China. The United States alone has room for more than 100 million hectares of additional tree cover — greater than the size of Texas.

The study, however, has its limitations. For one, a global tree-planting effort is somewhat impractical. As the authors write, “it remains unclear what proportion of this land is public or privately owned, and so we cannot identify how much land is truly available for restoration.” Rob Jackson, who chairs the Earth System Science Department and Global Carbon Project at Stanford University and was not involved with the study, agrees that forest management plays an important role in the fight against climate change, but says the paper’s finding that humans could reduce atmospheric carbon by 25 percent by planting trees seemed “unrealistic,” and wondered what kinds of trees would be most effective or how forest restoration may disrupt agriculture.

“Forests and soils are the cheapest and fastest way to remove carbon from the atmosphere — lots of really good opportunities there,” he said. “I get uneasy when we start talking about managing billions of extra acres of land, with one goal in mind: to store carbon.” Bastin, though, says the study is “about respecting the natural ecosystem,” and not simply planting “100 percent tree cover.” He also clarified that planting trees alone cannot fix climate change. The problem is “related to the way we are living on the planet,” he says.

Caveats aside, Houghton sees the study as a useful exercise in what’s possible. “[The study] is setting the limits,” says Houghton. “It’s not telling us at all how to implement it. That what our leaders have to think about.”

From – https://www.motherjones.com/

Here’s yet another concerning factor about Terra-Gen’s Ridgetop Turbine Project

The Silent Menace: Wind Turbine Infrasound – What You Can’t Hear Can Hurt You

Sci-fi fans remember the tagline from the Alien movie poster, which ominously declared, “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Likewise, research on the infrasound frequencies produced by industrial wind turbine blades is increasingly providing proof that what you can’t hear, can hurt you. Accordingly, it is worth noting that there is a huge difference between the auditory terms “sound” and “noise.” According to the Canadian Centre for Occupation Health and Safety, “Sound is what we hear. Noise is unwanted sound.” When speaking of the sounds generated by industrial wind turbines, the operative term is “noise,” and an important difference between sound and noise – including when infrasound noise is not heard by the ears – is that it can be felt by the brain and internal organs. Such an insight makes it all the worse to learn that infrasound noise can travel over much longer distances than previously admitted by the wind energy industry. Moreover, the intensity of potentially harmful levels of infrasound vibrations do not dissipate as quickly as formerly believed.

Along those lines, an important German study calculated the distances over which wind turbines can have unanticipated effects. The 2016 study warned how wind turbine-produced infrasound interferes with Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty monitoring equipment that is operated by Germany in the Bavarian Forest and Antarctica. The purpose of those stations are to verify compliance with the International Monitoring System that exists to detect nuclear explosions occurring in the atmosphere.1 The conclusion of that study suggested that a distance of 20 kilometers between a single wind turbine and the monitoring stations should be considered a rule of thumb and that a separation of 50 kilometers should be maintained between multi-element wind energy facilities and monitoring stations. The introduction to that article tells of a variety of studies that already took place to identify the hazards that wind turbine infrasound were already wreaking on similar monitoring stations on Ascension Island, as well as a station in southern California where the monitoring equipment is located 35 kilometers from a so-called “wind farm.” Moreover, the historical portion of that study mentioned, “Wind turbine noise effects on seismometer stations have also been investigated and reported for example at AS104 station in Eskdalemuir, UK. Stammler and Ceranna investigate the increasing influence of wind turbines on seismic records, depending on the wind speed and on the number of newly build wind turbines in the vicinity of seismic sensors.” This suggests that wind turbine infrasound could interfere with the monitoring and prediction of earthquakes and associated tsunami warnings.

The great distances that infrasound waves travel from their source was also documented in a study by the Los Alamos and Sandia Laboratories, published in 2014.2 In New Mexico, infrasound from sixty wind turbines could be detected 90 kilometers from the source under favorable conditions at night. The present trend of the wind energy industry is to push for more offshore than onshore facilities, yet studies in acoustics show that sound waves travel further over water than land, and that cooler water temperatures create inversions that cause sound waves to bend downward and become amplified which is a thought that leads to a study in Finland.

A 2016 Finnish pilot study belatedly made international news in 2018, when the Finnish Association for Environmental Health studied 200 persons affected by wind turbine infrasound. The report showed the severity of adverse health symptoms did not decrease for the first 15 kilometers from the source. It also determined that the effects were not correlated with the expectations of the persons being studied. This represented a major finding, since few countries require more than a 2 kilometer setback of wind turbines from homes.3 The results of the Finnish study should not have been a surprise among occupational medical health professionals. In 1999, a report was published by the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health4, which stated, “Owing to its long wavelength, infrasonic noise is less attenuated by walls and other structures, it is able to propagate over long distances and may affect the human organism even though the latter is far from its source.”

In light of the proliferation of wind energy, one might ask, “How long have the negative effects of wind turbine-generated infrasound been known?” The first solid evidence for estimating the levels of annoyance from infrasound on humans was found thirty-two years ago. In 1987, Neil Kelley pioneered the field of wind turbine noise annoyance when he presented a study at the WindPower ’87 Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco.5 His lecture was titled A Proposed Metric for Assessing the Potential of Community Annoyance from Wind Turbine Low-frequency Noise Emissions. That research was carried out at the Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden, Colorado, and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Kelly’s lab-based report directly linked infrasound to annoyance among human subjects, thereby indirectly linking stress-related disorders from annoyance to wind turbine infrasound.

Since infrasound lies in the inaudible frequency range of less than 20 Hertz, “What you can’t hear, can’t hurt you” was a mantle of protection the wind industry hid under for decades. Few governments embrace the concept of wind energy as enthusiastically as Germany, yet a highly-publicized 2017 report from their Max Planck Institute found that infrasound, even though it is inaudible, can produce measurable effects in recorded brain function.6 According to their report, “this study is the first to demonstrate that infrasound near the hearing threshold may induce changes of neural activity across several brain regions, some of which are known to be involved in auditory processing, while others are regarded as key players in emotional and autonomic control.”

This 2017 study from the Max Planck Institute, “Altered Cortical and Subcortical Connectivity Due to Infrasound Administered Near the Hearing Threshold – Evidence from fMRI”, also broached the topic of increased cortisol secretions that occur as a result. According to the authors of that report, “since the brain’s response to prolonged near-threshold IS [infrasound] involves the activation of brains areas which are known to play a crucial role in emotional and autonomic control, a potential link between IS-induced changes of brain activity and the emergence of various physiological as well as psychological health effects can be established.”

Citing earlier research, the authors stated, “It has been reported in several studies that sustained exposure to noise can lead to an increase of catecholamine and cortisol levels. In addition, changes of bodily functions, such as blood pressure, respiration rate, EEG patterns and heart rate have also been documented in the context of exposure to below- and near-threshold IS (infrasound).” The references to those citations are contained in that study. Equally enlightening is a study that was published fifteen years earlier (2002) in Sweden, “Low Frequency Noise Enhances Cortisol Among Noise Sensitive Subjects During Work Performance.”7

Pre-dating the research from the Max Planck Institute, back in 1985, infrasound was similarly found to increase secretions of the hormone cortisol (causing a flight or fight response), which, at sufficiently high levels, can stress the body and mind to trigger annoyance, apathy, confusion, fatigue, an inability to concentrate, and painful pressure in the ears, all of which represents merely short term symptoms. Too much cortisol in the long term eventually weakens immunosuppressive action, weight gain, brain damage, hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar levels that lead to diabetes), and a shut down of digestive and endocrine functions. In the end, prolonged cortisol production can lead to hypertension.8 Fast-forward approximately 25 years to 2011, when Canada’s Environmental Review Tribunal made history by officially declaring that the health debate is no longer whether wind turbine noise is harmful to human health but has evolved into one of the degree of harm, Erickson v. Director, Ministry of the Environment. 2011. Environmental Review Tribunal Nos. 10-121 and 10-122.9 A simple experiment to witness the end of the debate over wind turbine noise can be seen by going to Google Scholar and observing the results from searching the terms “wind turbine” AND “health effect” together.10

On January 26, 2019, congratulations were issued by Cape Cod Wave Magazine to the people of Falmouth, Massachusetts, following their long fight to win a court decision to have a wind energy facility removed from their town. The courts sided with neighbors when it was demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that the harmful effects of infrasound emanating from the wind turbines did not justify their existence, and therefore the company was ordered to cease operations and dismantle the towers.11 Such a legal pronouncement indicates that an understanding concerning the adverse effects of industrial wind turbines has advanced beyond the realm of political opinion and moved into the arena of evidence.

from Sierra Club California/Nevada Desert Report

By Dr. Donald Allen Deever who is a former park ranger, science teacher, flight instructor, freelance journalist, and PhD with majors in nursing education, software development, and writing pedagogy. He recently helped defeat the Crescent Peak Wind project in Southern Nevada, one of the most misplaced wind energy developments in history. He and his wife live in Searchlight on their own ten-acre nature preserve.

Hey Climate deniers…….time to pay the piper!!

Now, this should get the attention of all those Trumpie climate change deniers:  they’re going to lose a lot of money!

A new US government report delivers a dire warning about climate change and its devastating impacts, saying the economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars — or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP — by the end of the century.

The costs of climate change could reach hundreds of billions of dollars annually, according to the report. The Southeast alone will probably lose over a half a billion labor hours by 2100 due to extreme heat.

Farmers will face extremely tough times. The quality and quantity of their crops will decline across the country due to higher temperatures, drought, and flooding. In parts of the Midwest, farms will be able to produce less than 75% of the corn they produce today, and the southern part of the region could lose more than 25% of its soybean yield.

Heat stress could cause average Dairy production to fall between 0.60% and 1.35% over the next 12 years — having already cost the industry $1.2 billion from heat stress in 2010.

When it comes to shellfish there will be a $230 million loss by the end of the century due to ocean acidification, which is already killing off shellfish and corals. Red tides or algae bloom that deplete oxygen in the water and can kill sea life — like those that triggered a state of emergency in Florida in August — will become more frequent.

These impacts will be felt in every sector of the economy

The town of Paradise turned into smoke as seen from Chico

Here are the brutal findings:

The Fourth National Climate Assessment predicts least 3 degrees of warming by 2100

The United States already warmed on average 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century and will warm at least 3 more degrees by 2100 unless fossil fuel use is dramatically curtailed, scientists from more than a dozen federal agencies concluded in their latest in-depth assessment.

The 13-agency consensus found in the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment makes it clear the world is barreling toward catastrophic―perhaps irreversible―climate change. The report concluded that warming “could increase by 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century” without significant emissions reductions.

The evidence “does not support any credible natural explanations for this amount of warming” but instead “consistently points to human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse or heat-trapping gases, as the dominant cause,” the report states. It’s the sort of staggering reality the Trump administration seems eager to minimize.

Trump antagonized climate scientists by tweeting, once again, that he believes cold weather disproves long-term trends of a warming climate.

“Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?” he posted on Twitter.

That the White House opted to release the long-awaited update on climate change― which Congress mandates the administration provide every four years―on Black Friday, a popular shopping holiday the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, indicates it wanted fewer people to see the news about the findings.

The report adds to an ever-growing, all-but-irrefutable body of scientific research that shows climate change is real and driven by human carbon emissions―a reality that Trump and his team refuse to accept as they pursue a fossil fuel-focused “energy dominance” agenda.

Last year, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released a special report―the first volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment―that found Earth has entered the warmest period “in the history of modern civilization,” with global average air temperatures having increased by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 115 years. And in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading United Nations consortium of researchers studying human-caused climate change, issued a report warning world governments must cut global emissions in half over the next 12 years to avoid warming of 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit, beyond which climate change is forecast to cause a cataclysmic $54 trillion in damages.

A series of devastating natural disasters, worsened by rising temperatures, made those findings tangible. In October, Typhoon Yutu, the most powerful storm all year, struck the Northern Mariana Islands, plunging the U.S. territory into chaos just a year after Hurricane Maria left thousands dead in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. California, meanwhile, is suffering its deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record during what was once the state’s rainy season.

Last year was the United States’ second-hottest in history, and the costliest in terms of climate-related disasters, with a record $306 billion in damages. Sixteen of the last 17 years have been the warmest on record globally.

In January, the Trump administration unveiled a proposal to open nearly all U.S. waters to oil and gas development. It has since worked to roll back safeguards adopted after the catastrophic 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In October, the Department of the Interior approved the development of the first oil production facility in Arctic waters off Alaska, but the company behind the project has since had to extend its construction timeline due to dwindling sea ice brought on by Arctic warming, as NPR reported.

The latest findings are likely to bolster the growing protests and legal battles over climate change. Over the past two weeks, activists in the United States and the United Kingdom staged major demonstrations. In Washington, youth activists with the climate justice group Sunrise Movement stormed Democratic leaders’ offices demanding support for the so-called Green New Deal, the only policy to emerge in the American political mainstream that comes close to the scale of economic change needed to make a serious dent in national emissions. British activists stopped traffic this week as part of the so-called Extinction Rebellion.

The assessment could have weight in some critical court cases. The Supreme Court is considering a landmark suit brought by 21 plaintiffs between the ages of 11 and 22, who accuse the federal government of violating their civil rights to a safe climate by pursuing fossil fuel-focused energy policies. And various states and cities are suing big oil companies over climate damages, a number that could grow since Democrats scored victories in a number of attorney general seats in the midterm elections.

From the HuffPost, CNN, and Climatewire

 

 

 

 

“I don’t believe in Global Warming”

A big UN report arrived on recently, saying in no uncertain terms that the world has up to two decades to massively cut emissions by transforming the global economy if we want to avoid terrible climate impacts.

Given the implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) findings — government intervention, progressive social policies, more international aid — it’s perhaps not surprising that those who deny climate change is real or a problem pushed back. It took a few days, but the climate science deniers’ response to the IPCC report is now in full flow.

What we see is three distinct layers of climate science denial at play here:

There’s the ‘this isn’t happening’ sun-spot brigade.

There’s the ‘this is happening but it’s all a Communist ruse’ zealots.

And then there’s the team who reluctantly admit they’ve lost the debate but shoehorn in a number of caveats and excuses to justify why nothing should happen.

‘This isn’t happening’

Over at Steve Bannon’s alt-right hate machine Breibart, James Delingpole calls the IPCC report: “wailing hysteria and worryingly eco-fascistic policy prescriptions”.

Quoting Benny Peiser of the oft-debunked Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), he claims that the climate breakdown “hasn’t been supported by real-world evidence”.

Delingpole draws on an old friend, author Rupert Darwall, to claim that “science” is really just a pretext, devised by “ideological Euro Greenies, to destroy the fossil fuel hegemony of countries like the U.S. and to impose on them a new, eurocentric, renewable energy global tyranny.”

Now in full flow, Delingpole mocks reporting (such as ours) that points to the egregious media coverage in the UK, which favoured Strictly Come Dancing over ecological crisis. He asks, could it be that within the media universe “a few vestiges of the old standards still prevail? That maybe some editors still recognise a complete non-story when they see one?”

The BBC’s editors decided it was a story, but had a slightly odd approach to covering it.

As DeSmog UK pointed out, Newsnight chose to invite on US climate science denier Myron Ebell.

Ebell is the former head of President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team and a Director of the libertarian US think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

His appearance has been heavily slated. Environmental writer Mark Lynas described the interview as “utterly pointless and embarrassing. Car-crash television, and a waste of time that could have been used addressing the real questions.”

“If you want political analysis, ask a policy analyst. If you want propaganda, ask Myron Ebell,” said Simon Lewis, professor of global change science at University College London.

Not to be denied their place in the sun, LBC radio got in on the action, giving a platform to GWPF-founder Lord Nigel Lawson to spout his stock in trade — that all this talk of climate action is just “PC claptrap”.

Not content with giving Nigel Lawson a platform, LBC doubled up by bringing Piers Corbyn on to deny not just climate breakdown — “I’ll challenge the IPCC and the professor just speaking, there is no scientific paper in existence that shows that increases of carbon dioxide worldwide drive world temperature rises” — but that coral reefs were under threat.

The IPCC’s report compiled evidence from more than 6,000 papers. It said 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs would be lost with 1.5C of warming, and almost all with 2C of warming.

‘It’s all a ruse’

Over at Conservative Woman — which regularly runs pieces by Conservative non-woman and GWPF researcher Harry Wilkinson — a headline runs “Top scientist shoots the climate-change alarmists down in flames”. In that article, Wilkinson quotes American climate science denier Richard Lindzen, who the GWPF contrived to give its annual lecture on the day the IPCC report was released.

In an extraordinary talk, Lindzen equates the climate consensus with “the suicide of industrial society”. His talk is a homage to oil and coal arguing: “the power these people desperately seek includes the power to roll back the status and welfare that the ordinary person has acquired and continues to acquire through the fossil fuel generated industrial revolution and return them to their presumably more appropriate status as serfs.”

Lindzen has form. Back in 2017 writing at Merion West, Lindzen argued that believing climate change is largely caused by increases in carbon dioxide is “pretty close to believing in magic.”

In 2015 The Daily Mail reported Lindzen compared people believing in global warming to religious fanatics: “As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical.”

The Spectator would seem to agree. Its beleaguered editor Fraser Nelson tweeted a sneering comment in support of Ross Clark’s article, in which he states:

“It isn’t hard to spot the problem with issuing frightening-sounding deadlines. If the deadlines come and go, without us managing to lower emissions and yet still life goes on, it makes the people setting the deadlines look rather foolish.”

“It is also somewhat counter-productive. Given the failure of the world to come to an end, it is tempting to say, just as we do when religious cults and other fantasists make doom-laden predictions which fail to come to pass: well, the whole thing must be a hoax. What is the point of listening any further?”

Clark has a long history of climate denial. Back in 2015 he wrote in the Express the sort of paean to fossil fuel capitalism that Richard Lindzen would have been proud of:

“Climate change is not the greatest risk to the world: the biggest danger we face is the economic decline which would result from the loss of the cheap energy which has improved lives beyond all recognition over the past two centuries.”

“You name it: better food, better transport, better medical care. Ultimately, all the fantastic improvements in our lives since 1800 have been down to one thing: our ability to harness energy from fossil fuels.”

In summary: Everything’s getting better forever and ever. Except the IPCC report tells us that’s very much not the case, unless we take radical action. Which is perhaps why, in a second Breitbart article, Delingpole took aim at the organisations charged with implementing this ‘green tyranny’ that would see a move away from fossil fuels — specifically the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) Chief Executive, Chris Stark.

He’s a man full of “revolutionary fervour” for cutting the UK’s emissions and helping the world avoid terrible climate impacts, Delingpole (sort of) writes. “If this doesn’t chill you to the marrow, it should”, apparently.

He’s not the only one that’s scared the CCC might now become empowered. Nick Timothy, a former SPAD for Theresa May who is credited with getting the UK’s Department of Climate Change shut down, urges Telegraph readers to “take back control” from “unaccountable entities” such as the CCC.

And entities such as the Nobel committee, perhaps.

Bjorn Lomborg over at the Wall St Journal took the opportunity to distort the work of just-announced Nobel Prize winner, climate economist, William Nordhaus. Lomborg claims Nordhaus said that “proposed cost of CO2 cuts aren’t worth it”.

But as Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans points out on Twitter, Nordhaus literally wrote in one of his many, many papers on the economic rationale for climate action:

“The future is uncertain so we should have more climate policy, not less.”

In one sense the new ideological discomfort of the shrinking climate denial network is understandable. As the IPCC reports outlines, mass systemic change is required –  a systemic change that is incompatible with the economic system the climate science deniers revere.

‘It’s happening, but…’

The Daily Mail – a bastion of climate science denial under former editor Paul Dacre – started uncharacteristically promisingly with Peter Oborne’s excellent report from Bangladesh, which seems to be based on actual facts and actual reporting and firmly grounded in reality.

But then on Wednesday they had Stephen Glover veer from acknowledging the level of crisis, to arguing that it’s all just too expensive so nothing should be done. He writes:

“This week’s IPCC report judged that global warming must be kept to a maximum of 1.5C warmer than pre-industrial levels, rather than the 2C ceiling previously envisaged. How can scientists be so sure that the lower figure should become the new goal?

“I ask because it carries enormous extra costs. The IPCC estimates that new energy infrastructure — wind, solar and electricity storage — as well as technologies that can capture CO2 from the atmosphere, could cost a jaw dropping £1,800 billion.”

“This will be paid for by the likes of you and me.” He’s not the only one that acknowledges climate change is a problem but isn’t really willing to countenance the solutions.

Rod Liddle in The Sun takes aim first at vegetarians, then at windfarms.

Of the IPCC’s suggestion that we’re going to have to eat a lot less meat, he says: “Climate change is a fact. But when they conflate two issues for reasons of fashion, I begin to smell a rat”.

So Rod isn’t going veggie. But what of another IPCC finding, that the world is going to need a heck of a lot more windfarms? No. He doesn’t fancy that either:

“Wind turbines are a blight on our landscape”, he says, “causing misery wherever they are”.

That’s all pretty normal messaging for newspapers known for objecting to climate policy. But what’s new about the latest spate of climate science denial is its politics.

Having overwhelmingly lost the scientific debate, these groups are now pivoting to a new position which is centered around two ideas: first that the new is too apocalyptic and second that it’s too expensive.

Given what is required is systemic change, they are swiftly changing positions to defend the indefensible — an economic system based on extraction and exploitation of natural resources and mass consumerism that the IPCC tells us must be in its end-phase.

But it’s not all bad…

Amongst the torrent of climate science denial from the usual suspects, there are also a few shoots of refreshing reality appearing.  For instance, the normally obstinate Times runs an editorial that breaks with their own columnist Matt Ridley’s vehement do-nothingery and points to the IPCC report to make his stance look absurd:

“The IPCC report’s authors warn that cutting emissions fast enough to keep the planet sufficiently cool could mean a $2.5 trillion hit to global GDP. Others estimate that switching to electric cars will create new industries worth $7 trillion a year in the US alone. It is true that a revolution will be necessary, but it should be bloodless and it will be good for us. So bring it on.”

By Mike Small at:

https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/10/11/climate-science-deniers-respond-ipcc-report-anger-fear-and-distortion

OOPS!

The 700-page report that sheds light on the end of life as we know it and dumb-ass Donny

Trump says he “absolutely” plans on looking at that landmark climate change report published by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Y’know, the one that essentially says the planet and all of its inhabitants are totally screwed unless we change course, like, yesterday? Li’l Donny says “it was given” to him, and he seems just a little bit suspicious.

The so-called leader of the free world prepared his first comments on the 700-page report that sheds light on the end of life as we know it, and would like to know: Which group drew the report? No, no, you read that right. “Drew,” not “drew up.”

The ignoramus said “I want to look at who drew it,” he told reporters on the South Lawn. “You know, which group drew it.” No, we actually don’t know, because the IPCC report — the compilation of thousands of studies on climate science — isn’t a f-ing coloring book. As in — we can’t believe we have to explain this — it’s not something you draw, it’s something you read. Wtf!

But maybe it’s not so surprising that dumb-ass Donny thinks someone drew the IPCC study, considering he likes his intelligence briefings heavy on the pictures, light on the intelligence. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Trump really enjoys “killer graphics,” so … maybe Trump’s staff just slapped a frowny face on a drawing of Planet Earth and put it on his desk. Honestly, that about sums it up anyway.

Read the disturbing report here:

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/

Detailed reporting on the report Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

8 October 2018: The 48th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-48) has approved a Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) and its Technical Summary, and adopted a Summary for Policymakers (SPM), following its line-by-line discussion. According to the Panel, limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5ºC is still possible; however, it will require “unprecedented” transitions in all aspects of society, including: the transformation of energy, agricultural, urban and industrial systems; engagement of non-state actors; and integration of climate action into broader public policy and development frameworks.

The meeting, which convened from 1-6 October 2018, in Incheon, Republic of Korea, brought together more than 500 participants from over 130 countries. The report’s full name is ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC Special Report on the Impacts of Global Warming of 1.5°C above Pre-industrial Levels and Related Global Greenhouse Gas Emission Pathways, in the Context of Strengthening the Global Response to the Threat of Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Efforts to Eradicate Poverty.’ The SPM was officially launched during a press conference on 8 October.

The SR15 involved 91 authors from 40 countries, 133 contributing authors, over 6,000 cited references, and 42,001 expert and government review comments. As part of the 2015 UNFCCC decision adopting the Paris Agreement on climate change, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above preindustrial levels and related global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation in 2016, agreeing that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

IPCC-48 kicked off on Monday morning, 1 October, with an opening ceremony, including a video message from the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in. IPCC-48 was then suspended so the Joint WG Session could begin its work, and met briefly on Friday to address additional agenda items and adopt decisions on, inter alia, the IPCC Scholarship Programme and the Ad Hoc Task Group on Financial Stability (ATG-Finance).

The Joint Session of IPCC Working Groups (WGs) I, II and III considered the SPM line-by-line in order to reach agreement. This represented the first time the three WGs had collaborated together, in an interdisciplinary fashion, on an IPCC special report. While the SPM was reviewed in a plenary setting, discussion of some subsections, paragraphs, figures and definitions took place in informal huddles or in contact groups.

The SPM presents the key findings of the report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.

The Summary consists of four sections:

Understanding global warming of 1.5°C;

Projected climate change, potential impacts and associated risks;

Emission pathways and system transitions consistent with 1.5°C global warming; and

Strengthening the global response in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

The underlying report assesses the latest science on 1.5ºC of warming above preindustrial levels as opposed to 2ºC of warming, which is projected to lead to worse global and regional climate impacts, exposing 420 million more people to severe heatwaves, for example. One of the report’s key messages is that the consequences of 1°C of global warming are already being observed through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes. The report highlights climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, and examines various pathways to limit warming to 1.5°C, what it would take to achieve them and their consequences.

The report explains that global anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would need to decrease by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by around 2050, meaning that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air. Allowing the global temperature increase to temporarily exceed or “overshoot” 1.5°C would necessitate greater reliance on CO2 removal techniques to return the global temperature rise to below 1.5°C by 2100. However, such techniques, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), are unproven at a large scale and some may carry significant risks.

According to the report, climate action towards 1.5ºC can also help achieve the SDGs, including those related to agriculture, water, energy, biodiversity, public health and cities – sectors that influence and are influenced by the climate. The SR15 highlights in particular “robust synergies” between 1.5°C pathways and SDGs 3 (good health and well-being), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 14 (life below water).

In a statement following the release of the SR15, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the report “an ear-splitting wake-up call to the world” noting that “a half of a degree of warming makes a world of difference,” including more heatwaves, greater species loss, increased water scarcity and a total wipe-out of the world’s coral reefs. Guterres stressed the need to: plant billions of trees; drastically reduce fossil fuel use and phase out coal by 2050; ramp up the installation of wind and solar power; invest in climate-friendly sustainable agriculture; and consider new technologies such as CCS. In this regard, he urged countries to raise their ambition, strengthen their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and urgently accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement. [Statement of the UN Secretary General]

The SR15 will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December 2018, when governments are expected to adopt implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement.

The SR15 is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced during the IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle. In 2019, the IPCC will release Special Reports on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) and Climate Change and Land (SRCCL). The Panep will also approve a 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories at IPCC-49 in May 2019 in Kyoto, Japan. [Webpage for SR15] [SR15 SPM] [Headline Statements] [UNFCCC Press Release] [IPCC Press Release] [IISD Reporting Services Coverage of IPCC-48] [IISD Reporting Services Summary Report of IPCC-48]

21 days over 120 degrees, ya that just happened, what’s next?

Hothouse Earth Is Merely the Beginning of the End Not the end of the planet, but maybe the end of its human inhabitants

“Our future,” scientist James Lovelock has written, “is like that of the passengers on a small pleasure boat sailing quietly above the Niagara Falls, not knowing that the engines are about to fail.”

I thought about Lovelock the other day as I drove across Idaho, watching plumes from a forest fire rise in the distance. My mom and two of my kids were texting me about their experience driving through Redding, the city in Northern California where a “firenado” had devastated the region and accelerated a wildfire that killed six people. Not far away, in Mendocino, the largest fire in California history was burning an area the size of Los Angeles.

On the radio, I listened to reports from around the world: in Athens, Greece, a fire killed 92 people; in Japan, a brutal heat wave claimed 80 lives. This summer, wildfires have been burning in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany. There are even wildfires in the Arctic. High temperature records have been shattered all around the globe, including in Death Valley, California, which set the record for the hottest month ever recorded on the planet, with 21 days over 120 degrees. Our world is aflame.

I doubt any of this would surprise Lovelock, who is one of the most original thinkers of the 20th century, as well as one of the most articulate prophets of doom. As an inventor, he created a device that helped detect the growing hole in the ozone layer and jump-start the environmental movement in the 1970s. And as a scientist, he introduced the revolutionary theory known as Gaia — the idea that our entire planet is a kind of super-organism that is, in a sense, “alive.” Once dismissed as New Age quackery, Lovelock’s vision of a self-regulating Earth now underlies virtually all climate science.

And in Lovelock’s view, the Earth’s self-regulating system is seriously out of whack, thanks largely to our 150-year fossil fuel binge. “You could quite seriously look at climate change as a response of the system intended to get rid of an irritating species: us humans,” Lovelock told me in 2007 when I visited him at his house in Devon, England, for a profile in Rolling Stone. “Or at least cut them back to size.”

And Lovelock did not mince words about the future that we are creating for ourselves by ignoring the warning signs on our superheated planet. As I wrote at the time:

In Lovelock’s view, the scale of the catastrophe that awaits us will soon become obvious. By 2020, droughts and other extreme weather will be commonplace. By 2040, the Sahara will be moving into Europe, and Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad. Atlanta will end up a kudzu jungle. Phoenix will become uninhabitable, as will parts of Beijing (desert), Miami (rising seas) and London (floods). Food shortages will drive millions of people north, raising political tensions. “The Chinese have nowhere to go but up into Siberia,” Lovelock says. “How will the Russians feel about that? I fear that war between Russia and China is probably inevitable.” With hardship and mass migrations will come epidemics, which are likely to kill millions. By 2100, Lovelock believes, the Earth’s population will be culled from today’s 6.6 billion to as few as 500 million, with most of the survivors living in the far latitudes – Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic Basin.

A new paper published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences called “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene” reached more or less the same conclusion, even if was stated in more general scientific terms (and of course minus any reference to a “culling” of Earth’s population).

The paper, which was widely covered by everyone from USA Today to Al Jazeera, projected a very Lovelock-ian view of our world, arguing that even if we managed to hit the carbon emissions targets set in the Paris Climate Accord, we still might trigger a series of accelerating climate-system feedback loops that would push the climate into a permanent hothouse state, with a warming of four, five or even six degrees Celsius. If that were to happen, the paper argued, “Hothouse Earth is likely to be uncontrollable and dangerous to many, particularly if we transition into it in only a century or two, and it poses severe risks for health, economies, political stability (especially for the most climate vulnerable), and ultimately, the habitability of the planet for humans.”

The idea that the Earth’s climate system has certain tipping points, or thresholds, is nothing new. Small changes in the temperature of the Southern Ocean, for example, might have big implications for the West Antarctic ice sheet, leading to an ice cliff collapse that could raise sea levels by 10 feet or more in a very short (geologically-speaking) period of time. Richard Alley, a glaciologist at Penn State, has described the Earth’s climate as a highly complex system that, based on small forces that are still only dimly understood, tends to lurch from one steady state to another. “You might think of the climate as a drunk,” Alley wrote in his great book The Two Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future, which was first published in 2000. “When left alone, it sits; when forced to move, it staggers.”

There is no groundbreaking new science in the Hothouse Earth paper. Rather, it’s a synthesis of what is already known and presented in a compelling way. But it is an important reminder of two key attributes of the climate crisis. The first is that the real threat of climate change is not a slow slide into a warmer world; it’s a fast change into a radically different climate. How fast that change could happen, and how radically different it might be, no one can say for sure. But by continuing to dump fossil fuels into the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate, we are rolling the dice. As Columbia University scientist Wally Broecker famously put it, “If you’re living with any angry beast, you shouldn’t poke it with a stick.”

And we are not doing nearly enough to fight it. The Hothouse Earth paper points out — again, in a very Lovelock-ian way — that fighting climate change is not just a matter of reducing carbon pollution in the future, important as that obviously is. It’s about taking active stewardship of the planet now, and thinking more holistically about how to manage it now. Among other things, that means giving up the notion that there is a “solution” for climate change and accepting the idea we are living in a rapidly changing world now. How will we engineer drinking water systems to deal with this? How will we manage forests? How are coastal cities going to adapt to — or intelligently retreat from — rapidly rising seas?

“The heat and fires we’re seeing this summer is worrisome,” Alley tells Rolling Stone, in his typically understated way. “There are certainly human fingerprints on a lot of it.” But, Alley points out, this is just the beginning. As of now, the Earth has warmed just 1 degree Celsius. “Dealing with what we’re seeing now is the easy stuff,” Alley says. “With each additional degree of warming, the impact will be greater.” Alley is most concerned about physical systems with likely tipping points, such as the West Antarctic ice sheet.

He’s also concerned about biological tipping points. “If the oxygen level in oceans drops just a little, it could have a big and immediate impact on sea life,” Alley says. “A fire in Brazil could lead to rainforest being replaced with savannah, which would have all kinds of consequences for biological diversity, as well as for carbon uptake.”

But it’s the tipping point in human systems that worry Alley the most. He points to the recent drought in the Middle East, which was a key driver in the Syrian civil war. “You can see the resilience of different political systems. During the drought, Israel was OK. But Syria was not.”

Maybe this is the summer that we figure out that, as Lovelock put it, our engines are about the fail and we are indeed headed over the falls. But I thought that after Hurricane Katrina, too. And after Sandy. Instead, America elected a president who thinks climate change is a hoax and tweets insanely about how California doesn’t have enough water to fight the fires because it has “diverted” rivers into the Pacific. (As University of California at Merced professor LeRoy Westerling explained to NPR, “Even if you built a massive statewide sprinkler system and drained all of our natural water bodies to operate it, it wouldn’t keep up with evaporation from warmer temperatures from climate change.”)

When I talked to Lovelock in his cottage in Devon 11 years ago, he wasn’t worried about the fate of the planet. “Gaia is a tough bitch,” he told me. Whatever we humans do to it, he argued, it will eventually recover its equilibrium, even if it takes millions of years. What’s at stake, Lovelock believes, is civilization. “I don’t see it being too long before forms of life, based on the idea of [artificial intelligence] and so on, take over and run the planet for heaven knows how long.”

What about humans?  When asked about this recently, Lovelock told the BBC: “Don’t you consider it possible that we’ve had our time?”

By Jeff Goodell for Rolling Stone

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/hothouse-earth-climate-change-

Climate change denial on the wane…………finally

Hold on to your snowballs:

More Americans accept the reality of climate change than ever before

Seventy-three percent! That’s the proportion of Americans who now think there is “solid evidence” of global climate change, according to a new report released by National Surveys on Energy and the Environment (NSEE). It’s the highest percentage since the survey started in 2008.

Good news? Sort of. Even those who accept the reality of climate change are still hazy on the causes. Only 34 percent of those sampled believed that climate change is due primarily to human activity, as established science indicates. As for the rest, 26 percent thought it was partially due to humans and 12 percent blamed natural causes.

Here’s a quick lesson in the types of climate denial. “Trend deniers” are people who question whether the climate is changing at all — like the infamous snowball-throwing James Inhofe. “Attribution deniers,” on the other hand, question whether the changes can be linked to human influence — more in line with Scott Pruitt’s oh-so-vague climate beliefs.

Evidence suggests that trend deniers are on a sharp decline. Only 15 percent of those sampled in this study believed the climate was not changing at all. “That’s the lowest percentage since we started the survey,” says Barry Rabe, coauthor of the report and professor at the University of Michigan.

This has been a long time coming. Americans are experiencing more extreme weather on a personal level (heat waves, anybody?) and are seeing a growing number of reports about rising sea levels and melting polar ice.

National Surveys on Energy and Environment

But at the same time, attribution deniers are still around — and they present problems for anyone hoping to pass climate legislation.

“Those who are averse to mitigation aren’t as vehemently challenging the science of climate change, as they are the ability of policies to make any difference,” says Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg Institute of Public Opinion and another co-author of the report.

This has been particularly visible in the Trump administration, where climate denial has taken the form of rejecting human influence rather than rising temperatures more generally. And, by denying the role of humans, the Trump team has absolved itself of making any significant policy changes — well, except for rolling back environmental regulations.

At least we don’t have to waste as much paper showing why a single snowball doesn’t disprove the reality of a warming world. But if you think that climate change is only partially — or not at all — caused by humans, you’re even less likely to take the drastic actions needed to prevent catastrophe.

“In general, having Americans accept the existence of climate change is a necessary condition for policy action,” Borick argues. “But it’s not sufficient.”

Borick and Rabe are hopeful that we will continue to see slow movement toward both acceptance and action. The surveys show some hints that trend deniers can become attribution deniers — and that attribution deniers, in turn, may eventually accept the full science of climate change. But, if the last decade is any indication, it’s going to take a while.

By Shannon Osaka Jul 12, 2018 Grist

Hold on to your snowballs: More Americans accept the reality of climate change than ever before